Used almost constantly on a daily basis, worktables are truly the unsung heroes of the commercial kitchen. Seriously, when was the last time you actually took a moment to really appreciate your worktable? That’s what I thought! Their presence is often taken for granted by those who use them, but a commercial worktable contributes a great deal to the functionality of a working kitchen. They provide the necessary workspace to prep ingredients and create the masterpieces that turn customers into regulars, as well as vital storage space for supplies, ingredients, kitchen tools, and more.

When you add a new worktable to your space, you’re adding valuable storage space and prep space, but all worktables are not created equal. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the worktable that most effectively meets your needs, and we’re going to talk about them all.

Understanding Different Types of Steel

Both galvanized steel and stainless steel resist rusting, but each has a different level of tolerance. Galvanized steel has a thin but mighty coating of zinc, which gives it the ability to resist rusting from freshwater (but beware of saltwater!) and is often used for objects which are frequently subjected to moisture.

An alloy of steel and chromium, stainless steel is an exceptionally strong product that’s resistant to rusting even when exposed to saltwater but degrades quickly once it’s been exposed to water containing chlorine, which is important to remember if you’re creating a poolside kitchen atmosphere.

Type 304 and 430 stainless steel are the most economical and most commonly used types of stainless steel for commercial worktables. 304 stainless steel contains between 8% and 10.5% nickel, whereas 430 stainless steel contains no nickel at all. Including nickel in the steel alloy makes the metal more resistant to corrosion, and also more expensive. While not necessarily the strongest options, they can still stand up to the demands of daily use in most commercial environments.

There are other, more complex alloys of steel, but these are the most common options for commercial worktables.

The setting and type of work you’ll be doing on your new worktable will determine which type of steel is most appropriate. All types and gauges of steel have a wide range of uses, but the bottom line is that with greater complexity or thickness of the steel alloy comes greater strength, and a greater price.

understanding different types of steel

The thickness of a piece of steel is called out with a gauge number, and commercial steel worktables typically range from 18 to 14. A lower gauge number designates a thicker piece of steel. For example, an 18-gauge steel worktable is more budget-friendly and lighter weight than thicker gauges but more vulnerable to dents and scratches than a thicker gauge. An 18-gauge steel worktable would be a great choice for prepping sandwiches or salads. In contrast, 14-gauge steel is incredibly durable and capable of withstanding blows from meat cleavers or tenderizers without denting.

Gauge Number

Stainless Steel

Galvanized Steel










Open Base Worktables, Undershelf Worktables, and Enclosed Worktables

In virtually every kitchen, storage space is a highly prized kind of real estate that everyone is trying to maximize. So, it goes without saying that you’ll be storing something underneath your worktable — the question is:  What will it be? You may be planning to store stacked boxes, cooking equipment, or small appliances that you’d like to keep off of the floor with an undershelf worktable. You may want to tuck rolling bins of ingredients and supplies or perhaps an undercounter refrigerator or freezer for easy access to cold ingredients underneath an open base worktable. Or you may want to conceal your storage space within an enclosed worktable, which is available with either swinging or sliding doors. Your storage plans will determine which type of worktable is right for your space.

Commercial kitchen worktables


A worktable with a backsplash is a smart choice for any kitchen where the worktable will be positioned directly against a wall. Available in heights ranging from 1.5” all the way to 10”, a backsplash can prevent items from falling off the back edge of the table and help protect the surrounding area from splashes and spills. Choose a worktable with a backsplash if you’ll be working with a mixer or lots of liquids.

Read also: How to Clean, Care For, and Maintain Your Commercial Mixer

Stainless steel worktable with backsplash

Worktable Edge Types

Even the edges of commercial steel worktables come in different types, each making life easier in their own way. Square or Flat Edge worktables have 90-degree angled edges on all four sides, which makes it possible to place tables together, precisely flush on any edge. This is useful when using multiple tables as one expanded workspace. Rounded or Bullnose Edge worktables have a rounded front and rear edge and 90-degree edges on the sides and boast the advantage of being easier to clean on the rounded edges. Countertop or Marine Edge worktables come with a ridge around the perimeter of the table, which works to effectively contains drips and runoff from especially messy prep work. One of these edge types may suit your needs, but many kitchens use a combination of these edges to create a customized cooking atmosphere.

worktable edge types

Surface Material Options

There’s nothing wrong with using the standard steel top of your worktable, but depending on your needs, you may opt for a different material as your tabletop. Poly top worktables have a removable polymer layer that locks in place to prevent slipping and work great as a cutting board for butcher shops, meat counters, and anything that requires a lot of knifework. The poly top is easy to sanitize and easy to replace if necessary. Wood top worktables are a terrific option for bakeries and delis, and their undeniable visual appeal only improves with age and use. When it’s decision-making time, the type of surface material you choose comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Wood top worktable

Worktable Accessories

Once you’ve managed to make your way through the various options available for your worktable, it’s time to consider which accessories you’ll need to complete your workspace.

Cutting boards will keep your table top free from scratches and can add additional space to your work area.

Table mounted shelves add even more space to your work area by providing a handy place to keep tools or spices. They’re available as single or double-level shelves, can be welded to the table for stability, and are fully adjustable.

Undershelves can be added to your open base worktable and are a convenient way to store anything you want to keep off the floor.

Casters mobilize your worktable, making it easy to move for cleaning or rearranging, but most casters are equipped with locks to prevent your table from going rogue and rolling away in the middle of a rush. It’s important to remember that they raise the height of your worktable, so be sure to measure your space before ordering.

Drawers are a welcome addition to any worktable, keeping smaller items like knives or gloves within arm’s reach and off of your worktop.

Hand sinks are a sensible accessory for a particularly messy workspace, especially when working with raw meats or sticky ingredients.

These are just a few of the ways you can upgrade your worktable! Click here to see the full collection of worktable accessories available at Central.

If you’re unsure which worktable options are right for your workspace or which of these useful accessories would best complement your space, call our knowledgeable product experts at (800)215-9293 and make an informed choice.

worktable accessories
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